Julius G. Getman — Strike!
"I can not begin to express how much I enjoyed reading your book. It is apparent that you did a tremendous amount of research, resulting in an extremely well written book." — Cecil E. Roberts, International President of the United Mine Workers of America
"Power, nuance, compassion," —Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon
"Strategizing and second-guessing, romance and resentment, solidarity and tragedy, all from the divergent perspectives of engaging and well-drawn characters," —NYU Law Professor Cynthia Estlund
This debut novel by one of the nation's leading labor experts tells the story of a bitter feud at a Maine paper mill. Penned by Julius Getman, Strike! (Plainview Press, 2007) conveys the pain and frustration of workers who are asked to sacrifice as their jobs become more physically dangerous, their salaries less adequate, and their management richer.
The novel is the result of more than a half century spent both studying and participating in the labor movement. As the son of a garment cutter who entered the labor force at age 10, Julius Getman graduated from the prestigious Bronx High School of Science, served in the U.S. Army, graduated from CUNY, and Harvard Law School. As a lawyer, he worked with the steel workers, the Connecticut state police, with numerous professionals, and today is advising nurses seeking to unionize. He has been a mediator and an arbitrator, and has been a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators. As an academic, he served as the president of the American Association of University Professors. He has taught labor law at Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Indiana, and UT-Austin for more than forty years. He also teaches law and literature, a course he believes helps students appreciate the humanity of the law.
Getman's previous nonfiction books include The Betrayal of Local 14: Paperworkers, Politics and Permanent Replacements (Cornell, 1998) and In the Company of Scholars: The Struggle for the Soul of Higher Education, winner of the 1993 Violet Crown Award. Both books are based on years of interviews and face-to-face interaction with members of two distinct working groups: academics and laborers.
In addition, Getman is co-author of both Union Representation Elections: Law and Reality (Russell Sage Foundation, 1976) and Labor Relations: The Basic Processes, Law and Practice (Foundation, 1988). He edited a book of essays in 2004 with former Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall (a faculty member at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT), The Future of Labor Unions: Organized Labor in the 21st Century.
- Portland Press Herald interview with Professor Getman
- "In today's world it is quite refreshing to see educators instructing students
and producing works that champion the cause of working class people. Labor has
always been the line between the middle class and poverty and I am so pleased
that you are sharing this message with not only our students, but the entire
world. I can not begin to express how much I enjoyed reading your book. It is
apparent that you did a tremendous amount of research, resulting in an
extremely well written book."
—Cecil E. Roberts, International President, United Mine Workers of America
- "Strike! by Julius G. Getman (Plain View Press). The rhetorical
sounding title doesn't do justice to this entertaining and insightful novel
about a paperworkers' strike in a small town in Maine in the late 1980s. Gives
a rare inside view of human dynamics inside a local union as the decline in
the strength of the industrial labor movement is underway."
—World Wide Work
- "Strike! takes the reader deep inside a community that both comes
together and divides over a dramatic labor strike. We see strategizing and
second-guessing, romance and resentment, solidarity and tragedy, all from the
divergent perspectives of engaging and well-drawn characters. For readers
familiar with the history of organized labor, this will be a refreshingly
realistic and modern take on the drama of labor conflict. For readers who are
new to this terrain, and who might wonder how labor conflict can produce such
passion and even violence, this book will open their eyes."
—Cynthia Estlund, the Catherine A. Rein Professor of Law at New York University and author of Working Together: How Workplace Bonds Strengthen a Diverse Democracy.
- "Like most good works of fiction, Strike! is based on a deep factual
understanding of its subject. Jack Getman's interesting and insightful book
puts human faces on often abstract and sterile discussions of the painful
struggles to protect and promote workers' interests in a world dominated by
corporations motivated by short-run profits. Strike! deepens the
reader's understanding of the human and societal costs of transforming to a
more competitive global economy."
—F. Ray Marshall, former Secretary of Labor in the Carter administration and Professor Emeritus and holder of the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Centennial Chair in Economics and Public Affairs at The University of Texas.
- "Tom Wolfe's famous call for social realism in American novels has received
little response. But now comes Strike!, a vivid portrayal of the
effects of a modern labor dispute on friendships, families, and community
life. Julius Getman, with his unique combination of local knowledge and
storytelling gifts, brings the story to life with power, nuance and
—Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University
- "The book makes a scholarly contribution. It is not didactic. It is an
entertaining novel. But, by revealing some actual and possible consequences of
current laws and legal institutions, it establishes a plausible case for law
reform–a case that merits the careful reconsideration of certain components of
our labor law and a reassessment of certain organizations, institutions, and
processes that play a role in its implementation."
—Richard S. Markovits, the John B. Connally Professor at The University of Texas School of Law